World Refugee Day to be celebrated in Tampa Bay area this weekend

06/18/10 Seán Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Friday | Listen to this entire show:

This weekend is World Refugee Day. As the name implies, it's a day to recognize people who seek refuge when they’ve been forced to leave their homes because of violence or persecution. There will be events in Tampa Bay tomorrow to celebrate World Refugee Day.

Janet Blair is the region’s community liaison for Refugee Services with the Department of Children and Families.

“It’s a great opportunity to meet some of our new neighbors.”

Here's a list of events


Contact: Erin Gillespie (239) 243-4299 Janet Blair (813) 545-1716

    DCF Celebrates World Refugee Day in Hillsborough, Pinellas  Naturalization ceremonies, film event, city proclamation mark special day

SUNCOAST REGION – Many local refugees will be calling America their true home next week as the Tampa Bay Refugee Task Force celebrates World Refugee Day with naturalization ceremonies and other activities.

World Refugee Day is internationally sponsored each year by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to celebrate and recognize the courage and experiences of the world’s refugees. This year the local theme is “Refugees of Today, Citizens of Tomorrow.” The international theme is “Home.”

“The international theme of this year’s World Refugee Day, ‘Home,’ reminds us both of what refugees have lost – their home countries and the homes they were forced to flee – as well as what they have found in Florida – a new home country and a new place to call home,” said Hiram A. Ruiz, DCF Director of Refugee Services. “This World Refugee Day, as we celebrate with our refugee neighbors in their new home, we must also remember the millions of refugees worldwide who have lost their homes but remain stuck in refugee camps, with little hope for any new home.”

The Department of Children and Families Refugee Services program is funded by the federal government to coordinate and oversee many of the services provided to refugees in the state of Florida. More than 25,000 refugees are assisted each year.

In the past five years, more than 17,000 refugees have been resettled in this region. The majority are Cubans and Haitians, but this area has also received people in need from Iraq, Vietnam, Burma, Colombia and many other countries.

The Tampa Bay Refugee Task Force is a coalition of the dozens of local agencies that help refugees settle, integrate and prosper in this community. Please join us at the events below.

June 17

What: Free film screening of “New Year Baby,” a 2009 award winner of Amnesty International’s Films That Matter, and refugee panel discussion, moderated by Hillsborough County Hispanic Liaison Tony Morejon

Where: Centro Asturiano, 1913 Nebraska Ave., Tampa

When: 5-8 p.m. (dinner 5-6 p.m., film begins at 6 p.m.), June 17

  June 19

What: “Refugees of Today, Citizens of Tomorrow” event in Hillsborough County, including naturalization ceremony, refugee speakers, awards, performances, children’s activities, food and information booths from community providers

Where: Oak Grove United Methodist Church, 2707 West Waters Ave., Tampa

When: 10 a.m.-1 p.m., June 19

  June 19

What: “Refugees of Today, Citizens of Tomorrow” event in Pinellas County, including naturalization ceremony, refugee testimonials, awards, games and prizes

Where: Largo Library, 120 Central Park Drive, Largo

When: 1-4:30 p.m., June 19

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